Illiteracy on decline in South Africa
Less than one-third of the South African youth have a Matric certificate, with a little more than a 10th having tertiary qualifications - but despite the low figure there has been progress.
According to the recently released General Household Survey 2011, compiled by Statistics South Africa, the percentage of youths with Grade 12 as their highest level of education increased from 21,5% in 2002 to 27,4% in 2011.
The percentage of individuals with tertiary qualifications improved from 9,2% to 11,5% during the same period. But functional illiteracy declined from 27,9% to 18,1% during this time though nine out of 10 South Africans are able to read and write. The survey reflects the failures and successes the country has experienced over the last decade.
No-fee schools have encouraged better attendance, but this only lasts until the primary school period before large numbers start dropping out of schools.
The percentage of learners who paid no tuition fees increased from 0,7% in 2002 to 55,6% in 2011. Provinces with the highest proportion of non-payers were Limpopo at 89,7% and Eastern Cape at 71,8%.
Gauteng learners were least likely to benefit from the "no-fee" system, with only 31,8% of public school learners benefitting. The figure in Western Cape is even lower.
Though almost two-thirds of the 652869 students enrolled at higher education institutions during 2011 were black, this only represented 3,5% of Africans aged 18 to 29 years who were in active study.
Added to problems such as a lack of training and educational capacity among the youth, the Social Profile of Vulnerable Groups study by StatsSA has - in the preceding year - found that, "approximately 62,1% of children live in households with a per capita income of less than R570 per month".
According to the study, "by the age of 22, 56.6% of the youth are neither attending any educational institution nor working. The youth is at risk of becoming unemployable and falling into chronic systemic poverty".